An Electric Chinese-German SUV – Borgward BXi7
Borgward was at KLIMS 2018. That’s where I saw them for the first time. KLIMS 2019 did not see participation from Borgward or Haval (Borgward is distributed in Malaysia by Go Bremen, who’s sister company is Go Auto, the distributor of Haval in Malaysia). Borgward is a very old brand name that’s been around since 1930 or so. You can look them up. They went bust in the 60s. In 2014, Foton, a member of state-owned Chinese Automaker BAIC Group, acquired the Borgward brand.
In January 2019, it was announced that Ucar (A Chinese startup) has taken over Foton’s shares. I suspect this to be the reason for the long buffer between Borgward’s first Malaysian appearance (April 2018 at KLIMS), and the launch of its BX5 model for sale in July 2019. In October 2016, Borgward announced plans to build a factory in Germany. Borgward was planning to produce the BXi7 electric car in Bremen, but latest news in July 2019 says it is not happening (source: electrive.com , insideevs.com).
So, the BXi7.
This is an electric concept car, which is based on an already existing Borgward BX7. Since the BX7 is assembled in Beijing, chances are, this was too. There seems to be no chance of assembly in Bremen. On the official website, the BXi7 is listed as a concept car, but on closer observation in the Glenmarie Showroom, it really looks production ready.
The layout is similar to that of the Hyundai Kona Electric. Of course, the BX7 is a bigger car, but they both have unibody crossover chassis that were originally intended for ICE propulsion. Both Kona and the BX7 also have hybrid versions.
What about the specs?
Motor: Permanent Excited Synchronous Motor (Permanent Magnet)
Motor configuration: Front and Rear (All-wheel-drive)
Transmission: Single Stage Transmission
Battery: Only details are lithium ion with approx. 500km range
Price: NA (concept car)
Tyres: 235/60 R18
On the inside, the car doesn’t feel like a ‘Legend of the German Automotive Industry’. That’s just my opinion. German luxury marques feel well done, but this isn’t quite there yet. The car doesn’t make the brand feel like the claimed ‘German Legend’ that has been revived. Forgive me for sounding like a disappointed Asian parent but Borgward was Germany’s third largest auto manufacturer and largest automotive exporter. For a brand with such big history, the car looks good, but not great.
The mural in the showroom depicts Caucasians working on the car, which I am not sure is an actual depiction of the manufacturing line in Beijing.
The BXi7 is a concept car (as claimed on the website) that looks very well ready for production. The compact electric car market has now seen Renault’s revived Zoe, the Hyundai Kona, Nissan Leaf, Honda Everus VE-1, Honda E, and Geely Emgrand GSe. With the way the BXi7 looks, it could be a contender in the ‘affordable’ electric car market.